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What We Learned From The New Mockingjay Part 1 Stills

In case you missed it, with “The Mockingjay Lives” trailer also came a new edition of Hunger Games Exclusive featuring interviews with Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and Natalie Dormer, quick bios of Boggs, Pollux, Castor, and Messalla, and a boatload of new stills.

And oh, there’s messages behind messages about the movies in those stills!

1) Gale and Cressida either hate each other or totally get each other

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There are a couple pictures of Gale and Cressida together that make us wonder about how other character relationships will be expanded in the TWO parts of Mockingjay (because hell, that’s definitely room to expand things!) Yes, they’re facing away from each other which suggests that this isn’t a romantic twist– THANK GOODNESS– but there’s some sort of deal going on between these two. On one hand, neither looks particularly happy and they won’t look at each other. On the other, they have each others’ back and it seems like these two share a similar ideology that might have them teaming up quite a bit.

Are we just talking nonsense? We’ll find out in two months!

2) Jen’s wig is pretty solid.. except for when there’s running.

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Witness ZEE WIG.

Not bad, right? Flowy, realistic frizz, and a hair line that doesn’t make you facepalm. It’s not very noticeable at all!

Now.. a second glance:

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IT JUST GOT SO MUCH MORE NOTICEABLE.

Stills of action scenes are very rarely kind to the characters involved. This just proves it. We probably won’t notice it so much with actual, rolling footage, but this shot is a definite reminder that our homegirl got wigged up for these movies.

3) There’s always that one guy.

Extras. Very rarely does one really catch your eye because they’re out of place, but it happens.

Take the District 8 shot. Almost everyone looks tense, resilient, perhaps even a bit frightened and then… Wait. Is that one guy smirking at her?

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It may not be enough to draw most people’s attention, but something about this guy’s look here says “Dude! They put me right next to her! I’m totally going to be in the movie.”

4) Everyone posed in those D13 uniforms (also, see #1)

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Military or not, we’re guessing everyone had a photo-op in District 13’s gray fatigues, just to reassure us that all the characters hate them and even the pretty ones look a bit drab. Alas, more reassurance that District 13 is a fashionista’s worst nightmare.

5) Someone put a tiny braid in Natalie Dormer’s hair EVERY. DAY.

thg-mj1-website-02-cressida

And yet we can barely manage to braid our own hair without it looks like a rat’s nest. Kudos to Mockingjay’s official braider (we assume that’s their title) and their tiny little hands!

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Don’t Blink! Trailer Teaser Time

Happy trailer eve!

Tomorrow we finally, FINALLLLLLLLY get the trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. “About damn time” doesn’t even begin to say how much this trailer is needed, but we’ve already talked about that.

Instead, we’re going to discuss the mini-previews of the trailer that have been released in anticipation of the big day.

First off.. Don’t blink. Not because there’s weeping angels or anything.

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Just kidding, there totally are weeping angels here. Just to make you aware that we are THAT serious right now! (Non-Whovians: These things can kill you in the blink of an eye. Pay attention to the previews!)

These bits are about 10-15 seconds, but how much is actual footage?

3 seconds of footage, 7 seconds of President Snow quotage.

2 seconds of footage. Almost 3. 2 1/2, to be fair.

The trailer is short, so we suppose it should be no surprise that even their trailer previews are short. Most movies give you a solid 5 to 10 seconds of actual footage in mini-teasers. Buuuut we’re nitpicking because we’re desperate for more.

There’s really not much to comment on, but we are liking what we see. Katniss looks positively horrified as she discovers the beautiful white rose amongst the dead flowers in her abandoned house. Katniss and Gale fighting off Capitol predators together in District 8 is pretty much the only form of Katniss/Gale “togetherness” we can get behind.

And that right there is the big point:
The campaign for this movie has been very slow and some fans are losing enthusiasm, but we’re still pretty damn sure the movie will be among the best for the year. Why? Because the movie was made by Lawrence Squared, J-Hutch, Hemsy, Nina Jacobson (we don’t have a fun nickname for her), and some of the most celebrated actors out there and the promotional packaging, well… isn’t. In the end, the overall experience feels dimmed, but the movie will probably still leave us all like “OHMYSWEETGOODNESS DID YOU SEE THAT?”

And hopefully the trailer makes us super excited too. Because if we’re only getting one full trailer, it better be freaking glorious.

Looking For To Basking In The Glory With You (Hopefully),

The Girl With The Pearl

Gale Hawthorne– Blue Steel

So, this happened.

Rebels_Gale2

Along with that we also got the other equally as anticipated for character posters. The Girl With The Pearl, and JJ both covered this topic, but they didn’t cover this topic. Liam Hemsworth has one facial expression. You can take that one of two ways, that I’m poking fun at him, or that he’s got to make the best impression on casting directors– because if they paid more attention to his ability to express emotions with his face alone– he’d have to do a whole lot more than chat, or say lines, or whatever the hell those crazy kids are doing in casting rooms now.

In all seriousness, look at the evidence.

Exhibit A. Remarkable that he hasn't aged as well.

Exhibit: A. Remarkable that he hasn’t aged as well.

I don’t know about you, but to me that looks like the same expression he has in the character poster! Maybe I’m being overly critical, because there’s been so very little promotional material of real circumstance for this film as of yet. Yeah, we’ve got the tie-in propos, we got the teaser trailer, but we’re only now getting in character representations of new and old favorites– it feels a little stagnated. And then we get a patented Hemsy Blue Steel expression.

Exhibit B. Same every time.

Exhibit: B. Same every time.

Exhibit Do I Really Have to Say C?

Exhibit: Do I Really Have to Say C?

I feel like we’ve been hoodwinked a little bit, ’cause seriously! That’s the same friggin’ facial expression! True, it’s the same person in all of these photos, but isn’t he supposed to be expressing something else? Capitol Portrait Gale looks a little like he’s holding down a sneeze, I’ll give him that much! But the rest, even the examples of Liam not playing a character other than himself, those are undeniably similar to uncannily similar facial expressions. I’ll throw Liam one bone, ’cause I know I haven’t been that nice to him today. He’s much better outside of still photographs, granted he’s done his fair share of modeling, and he is without a doubt a very handsome young man, but his acting ability is not in his Blue Steel, it’s in his presence on screen, his entire body in movement, acting opposite other people– or with a better director off to the side giving him feedback. Stills are not his game, it’s just unfortunate, or fortunate depending upon how you look at the world, that the world at large’s first impression of Commando Gale looks about as annoyed as he might if his mom asked him to take out the trash. 

Until next time– this has been Them There Eyes with her wacky point of view on a piece of still photography.

District 13 Rebel Reaction

IT’S MOCKINGJAY PART 1 Posterama! We got six brand spankin’ new posters of what will be Star Squad 451 minus Finnick, Peeta, and Katniss; our first official look at the crew in their gear.

And OF COURSE we’ve got lots of feelings we need to share about all this! BEHOLD!

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Oh, Hemsy! Your eyebrow game is just through the roof in this poster. We just want to brush them methodically for you (as we assume someone else did shortly before this picture was taken.) But we don’t love this image nearly as much as we should.

Book!Gale most certainly had some rage at this point in the story line. Yes, he’s finally made it to the rebels, but Katniss still describes him as intensity and fire when all is said and done. WHERE IS THAT? We all know Liam has epic emo face, but what about the other faces?! This is stern, at best. We want RAAAAAGE! He pulled that off much better in the Catching Fire character poster.

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Dammit, Natalie Dormer! Even in 1,000 layers including various padding, you still look glam! The last time we tried to look fancy, we still looked worth than that. URGH!

We’ve also discovered the new game we’ll be playing through the rest of the Mockingjay Part 1 promotional period: What exactly is the proper brightness of Cressida’s tattoo? It looked much darker and less green in the trailer, but it might have just been the lighting?

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YES! THIS! THIS FOREVER AND EVER!

If you can’t tell, we really like this poster! The image alone justifies Mahershala Ali’s casting as Boggs. Intimidating but serene, focused and powerful. The kind of guy who seems serious but has a solid sense of humor underneath it all. He definitely comes off as a leader and we are officially excited!

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Is it just us or was anyone else thinking Messalla had more of a Capitol flare?

Yes, he’s relocated to District 13, joined the rebellion, and probably toned down has look a bit. But still, we expected more than a bridge piercing and a line tattooed on the bottom lip. That modifications aren’t as “Oh so Capitol!” as we’d expected and despite not believing in the government, Messalla was still culturally Capitol. In the book, he stood out much more drastically. Why change that here?

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When… When did one of the camera guys get kinda sexy?

We understand why it was easier to make Castor and Pollux brothers instead of twins… even though it kills the whole Greek mythology reference but WHATEVS. Still, aren’t these guys the “insects”, the background characters that have their special moments but mostly kinda blend in? How are we supposed to focus on military strategy and political strife when there’s lean muscle and faux hawks in our faces?!

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Not sure how we feel about ponytail and beard combo, but we’ll let this one slide because its FULTON REED (aka Elden Henson). Pollux is a former Avox and admittedly, the styling choices give the character the look of someone who’s been worn down after seeing too many horrors in the world. Also, you can see their “insect” camera bags really well in this one ad we’re digging it!


Everyone’s Worried About Katniss and I’m like “BUT WHERE IS FINNICK?!”

The Girl With The Pearl

POSTERS! Tough Scary Sexy Badass Mockingjay Posters!

That’s right; seemingly out of nowhere more character posters have arrived!  This time they’re of the field team – Gale, Cressida, Boggs, Messalla, Castor, and Pollux all in their gear with the Mockingjay symbol behind them.

So tough. So menacing. So dark. Just the right tone, we’d say.

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We’ve got to digest on them a bit so we’ll have more on them later, but enjoy!

Katniss is next? KATNISS IS NEXT.

JJ

TRAILER REACTION: Our Leader The Mockingjay

The first traditional trailer for THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 is finally here!

That means two things:

  1. Congratulations Glenn, the winner of our Third Anniversary Guess The Trailer contest! He won a Catching Fire fan camp poster signed by Josh Hutcherson, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, and Jeffrey Wright!
  2. OMG IT’S TRAILER REACTION TIME!

So watch the trailer again and prepare for pure, exuberant fangirl reaction!

Remember, our reaction posts get kinda long, so most of this baby is under the cut! Also.. SPOILERS. DUH. (All screencaps courtesy of Jabberjays.net!)

Our-Leader110

Yep. A little haunting.

IN WHICH THE TRAILER DARKENS OUR SOULS
The Girl With The Pearl: Let’s start with the usual– describe the trailer in one word!
There Them Eyes: Teasing
JJ: You took mine… I’ll say appropriate?
TGWTP: I’ll go with haunting. Which is not my usual direction with these, because trailers usually make me giddy.
TTE: PSH
JJ: Ok haunting is better But for me, it did its job. It set the stage for what the movie’s about.
TGWTP: Which is scary, messed up shizz
TTE: There’s nothing happy about Mockingjay… ok, wait… yes there are happy points, but it’s not full of as many light moments as the previous stories.
TGWTP: And yes, PSH was a big part of the haunting feel, though not the only reason for it
JJ: But no it didn’t make me dance around the room. It was much more dark. But yes, the subject matter here is a whole different level
TTE: Even the trailer music is somber.

Our-Leader060

EEEEEEEVIL, WE SAY!

PLUTARCH, COIN, AND A SHOWDOWN WITH FICTIONAL CRITICS
TGWTP: Where you surprised that they opened it with Plutarch and Coin?
JJ: Before I was spoiled?
TGWTP: Yes LOL
JJ: Yes, I was surprised with it. But I think it was a good choice. So much of the movie is Plutarch and Coin’s planning.
TTE: Pleasantly surprised. Oh, wait.. I was the only one who was surprised?! This is what happens when you work all day, and don’t spend a lot of that time searching Twitter!
JJ: Twitter is life, ok?
TTE: Twitter is… yeah, I’ll leave my Twitter opinions at the virtual door.
TGWTP: Maybe it’s just me, but I got the feeling Coin will be more openly eeeeevil in the films. She had one line and I was like “YOU DECEITFUL WENCH!”
JJ: Hmm. Yes, maybe they don’t want there to be any doubt that she’s a baddie to avoid confusion for those non-book readers
TGWTP: True. Anyone who sees her as ambivalent or possibly decent will be raging about the end.
TTE: I think having Coin and Plutarch being the first characters we see in the trailer is a very strategic move. It’s playing both on the mythology of the series, which will make fans happy. But to newbies, seeing Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman is a draw, sort of like “Whoa, it’s those people! They’re in this… take my money!!”
JJ: TAKE THIS MOVIE SERIOUSLY!
TTE: Stop calling it the next WHATEVER! If you want to call it the next Star Wars… sure, fine– but stop with the teen drama comparisons.
TGWTP: You’re not too cool for fantasy, jackass!
TGWTP: I love yelling at this fictional critic person!
TTE: Fictional critic person looks like a troll and we love to poke him.

Is this just here to piss off Peacekeepers? We doubt many district rebels are airbourne!

Is this just here to piss off Peacekeepers? We doubt many district rebels are airborne!

THIS REBELLION IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE X-FILES
TGWTP: Anywayyyyy… Next, we get district drama! Starting with— How long do you think it would take a person to pull off that crop circle?
TTE: One night.
JJ: It was not people. It was aliens. Plot twist!
TGWTP: OMG DISTRICT 13 IS FULL OF ALIENS MASQUERADING AS PEOPLE!
JJ: Explains a lot, right?
TGWTP: YES.
TGWTP: And how did they get it so accurate?!
TTE: How you make a crop circle accurately: You take geometry in high school, ace it, and then use those skills. I learned this from The X-Files.
JJ: Or aliens.
TGWTP: That was probably the only part of the trailer that allowed me to be happy. Death, depression, distrust, CROP CIRCLE!
JJ: Yes, that was a bit weird now that you mention it, but a cool effect.
TTE: I know I think I texted JJ, like “Well, that crop circle thing is pretty cool.”

Read the rest of this entry

Mockingjay Product Campaigns: (Fictional) Worst Case Scenarios

Today, we’re going to be positive and grateful. For what, you ask?

Though we’re still confused about why the Katniss ad for Always exists, today we will show our thanks that some other character-specific ad campaigns DON’T exist, even though they’re surprisingly more relevant to the story than tampons.

At least we’ve not yet seen…

INSERT PEETA'S FACE HERE. (Because Photoshop is not cooperating!)

INSERT PEETA’S FACE HERE. (Because Photoshop is not cooperating!)

Peeta’s Pastries - Not the fresh yum yum shop pastries at Comic-Con (even though they totally stole the Effie cupcakes design). We’re talkin’ prepackaged, dry cakes with a frosting filler served en masse! All covered in icing Mockingjays, arrows, arena obstacles, and more! Just like out of Mellark bakery (except with more sugar and artificial preservatives!)

Haymitch’s Liquor - Though we would most definitely name a little homebrew project after Haymitch, could you imagine an actual liquor brand releasing commercials with Katniss’ mentor drunkenly attesting to its level of awesome? Or creating unique labeling with Hunger Games fans in mind using Haymitch? Spit take worthy, possibly hilarious, yet sadly 100% inappropriate. But most fans are old enough to drink anyway, so why not?!

Gale’s Hunting Bows - What product does The Hunger Games show off more than anything? WEAPONS. So why not sell some badass hunting gear?! Promoted by a male character, of course, so that men don’t have to feel shame and outrage because a woman like Katniss can handle a weapon just as well as them!

Johanna’s Body Lotion - If you’re often naked or scantily clad in low cut outfits, you NEED a moisturizer that leaves your skin looking beautiful! Johanna knows the secret to soft, supple skin, even on a recently shaved head!

INSERT FINNICK'S FACE HERE.

INSERT FINNICK’S FACE HERE.

Finnick’s Manscaping Products - Hair gel, chest wax, self tanner, and more! Finicky probably uses it all. Now he can share his methods with the modern male population so they can ALL be studly! Or maybe just throw him into an Axe body spray campaign, because anyone who looks that good MUST smell good, despite the sweat from continuous workouts!

Aren’t you glad these things DON’T exist? Don’t you feel better?

This doesn’t make every product partnership that’s been associated with the film good (most aren’t), but sometimes we gotta be happy that there’s only one product tie-in tweet we’d categorize as utterly ridiculous.

Of course, we also want to show that specific character tie-ins are tough to pull off for this franchise. The only one we could see so far is Samsung possibly using Beetee to tie in with their technologies, but that hasn’t happened yet. Advertising can be fun, but we just gotta make sure everyone knows THERE’S A LINE!

If You Want To Sell Brands, Maybe Start With A Story That Isn’t About Poverty?
The Girl With The Pearl

Cinna’s Subliminal Design Clues

Caesar’s Scrunchy is back once again with EVEN MOAR visual beauty! Today, she’s talking about how Catching Fire portrayed the way Cinna left his mark on more than just The Mockingjay!

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I decided to fill the time waiting for “Mockingjay” by watching “Catching Fire” again, and noticed that Effie Trinkett was wearing a necklace (in Katniss’ wedding dress/Mockingjay dress scene) that looked like arrowheads. Then I noticed Katniss’ earrings when her dress transforms become arrowheads too, and then… there were arrowheads (triangles) ALL OVER the movie!

And they were worn only by Katniss’ allies, whether she knew they were her allies or not.

Then I decided that because, as Effie says, Cinna is the most influential designer in the Capitol, it makes sense that he would put these arrowheads subliminally in his designs, and that others would copy him.

Check it out – these pages show Cinna’s influence, with tons of arrowheads (triangles) throughout. I found these images from basic Google web searches (I don’t own any of the photos or anything else– it all belongs to Lionsgate and Suzanne Collins, ok?)

KATNISS

2 Katniss 1b

4 Katniss 2b

PEETA

6 Peeta b

VICTORY TOUR COSTUMING

8 Victory Tour b

JOHANNA

14 Johanna b

HAYMITCH

10 Haymitch b

FINNICK

12 Finnick b

BEETEE

16 BeeTee b

PLUTARCH
18 Plutarch b
PRESIDENT SNOW AND HIS FOLLOWERS

19 Snow
20 Capitol Folk

GALE

21 Gale

EFFIE

22 Effie

OTHER ARROWHEADS

23 Whole Cast

24 Arena

But trust me: it’s tons of fun watching “Catching Fire” again, and seeing if you can find who else wears the arrowheads…and who doesn’t!

Sincerely,

Caesar’s Scrunchy

The Real Big “R” Question for Mockingjay – Not Ratings, but Romance

Today we have a great guest post by Satsuma on a topic that brings out a lot of passion in the fandom.


Okay, first things first.  I confess that it wasn’t just the (rather scanty) Mockingjay news so far that brought this question to my mind.

No, I must credit the inspiration for this topic, of how much romance is appropriate for a sci-fi, action-packed “young adult” tale to, of all things, LEGOs — the LEGO ninjas who star in the Cartoon Network show, “Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu”. Think LEGO Star Wars mixed with kung-fu.  For a series of 22-minute LEGO commercials, the show can be surprisingly deep; there is one Big Bad Palpatine/Sauron-like villain, but other antagonists are quite humanized, including Darth -er, Lord Garmadon, or the snake-like Serpentine clans, who actually have legitimate reasons to be angry at mankind.

The show is targeted mostly at young boys, and the 4 ninjas (Kai, Jay, Zane, and Cole)  are all male, as is the Chosen One, Lloyd. But there is one significant female character; Nya, Kai’s sister. Nya is a mecha wiz who dresses up in a robo-Samurai-suit to fight evil, and often bests the boys at their game.

Seasons 1 and 2 of the show had a touch of innocent romance between Nya and Jay, but this was far from the focus.  But suddenly, in season 3, Nya wound up in a love triangle between Jay and fellow ninja Cole.  A love interest appeared for Zane as well, and it even turned out that Lord Garmadon and his brother, Sensei Wu, had both wooed Padm – er, Misako in the past.

Well, the fan reaction to all this romance, was, essentially, “ewwww”!  Not just from the young boys, but the tween girls who were the likely target of it. Many female fans of the show were annoyed that Nya was turned into yet another Bella-like ingenue torn between two suitors, as opposed to a heroine in her own right who just happened to be dating another ensemble character.

And so this brings me to Mockingjay, and the debates over how much romance will, and should, be in the films.  It seems the fan consensus for THG was that one of the film’s major flaws was how the K/P ship was not only downplayed, but done so in a way that shorted Peeta as a character.  For the CF movie, I was mostly satisfied both with the “balance” between K/P and K/G and the overall amount of romance , but I certainly recall some Everlarkers griping “no plant book scene”, “no rooftop scene”, or “that beach kiss was NOT passionate enough” (I actually agree with the last one; it was cute, but not one that made me think Katniss was having sexy feelings down below, the way the book scene certainly did.)

How much of this will we see in Mockingjay Part 2? (Source: tigriss92.tumblr.com)

How much of this will we see in Mockingjay Part 2? (Source: tigriss92.tumblr.com)

What will we see in the MJ films, though?  Certainly, two films give the film-makers extra time for romance, but that doesn’t mean all the book scenes will make it in. Some of the extra time will be given to added scenes, such as battles, or exposition scenes between Snow and his new adviser, Antonius, and we’ll likely get a peek at Coin’s machinations as well.  So in keeping with the general trends, I forecast some romantic scenes being edited, cut down, or merged with others.

Again, the “balance” between K/P and K/G will be crucial, especially given Peeta’s absence in most of Part 1, and the difficulty even SC herself had with sinking K/G not only as a romance, but as a friendship as well (I refer, again, to the many “post-MJ” fanfics that feature a K/G reconciliation at least as friends.)

What I think fans also should keep in mind, is that the MJ book itself was a much less “romantic” a book than certainly CF, or even THG. To me, even before Peeta reappeared, MJ made it obvious that the only potential K/G had, even without the clashes in values, was a “lifeboat camaraderie” type friendship with some  “hurt/comfort” thrown in.  (And to be fair, K/P has these aspects as well, but goes beyond it in a way K/G didn’t.)  Note that SC herself had to be nudged by her editor into writing “more of the Peeta-Katniss-Gale love triangle”.  (Source)

Now, this little tidbit makes me highly suspect that the very Twilight-ish “who will she choose” scene between Peeta and Gale in Tigris’s shop was added on by SC in response to her editor’s suggestions.  Considering how the films so far have tended to cut out the “cheesier” romantic scenes and lines, I think that if we do see the scene, it will be quite cut down, though Gale’s “she’ll choose who she can’t survive without” comment may be left in.   And it certainly may, as Katniss’s later musings about “what I need to survive” show much about the characters of all Love Triangle Trio members. Also, in the books, Katniss only reflects on this comment internally.  Certainly, book!Katniss actually verbalizing her complicated feelings to Peeta (or to Gale) would have been quite OOC.  But movie!Katniss is not quite as introverted (a change I certainly prefer to cheesy voice-overs), and it will be interesting to see how the movie converts her thoughts to actual dialogue.  In this way, I can see the MJ movies having a more “romantic” component than the books.

My own take on the series is that, romance is certainly a large component of it; certainly more than the Y-7 rated Ninjago.  Not only do we have the central love triangle, we also have Mr. M, Mrs. E and Mr. E, Annie and Finnick, and so on.  I certainly don’t agree with the extreme anti-romance “Katniss was incapable of loving anyone but Prim, she just chose Peeta because she was stuck with him and did what she could to survive” theory.  But in the end, it is NOT a romance in terms of the genre.  So I’m not personally going to wait with baited breath for each book kiss to appear on the scene.

I think SC meant for the romance to take a back seat in MJ, and only be established towards the end, in the context of not only two hot bodies going at it, but a long-lasting relationship that produces children, to provide a ray of hope at the end.   I also hope the films convey the idea that the “choice” between Peeta and Gale wasn’t just a choice between two men (unlike Nya’s choice, as her suitors are both “good guys” who pretty much look the same except for wig and costume) but one between two different ways of life.  Can movie!Katniss become one of the few pop culture heroines who isn’t JUST a “romantic” or “action” heroine, but transcends both?

One can only hope.

-Satsuma

A Real Life District 12?

It’s time for the first entry in our latest series of guest posts! Kait is in full-on wedding mode so you’ll be hearing from special guest writer over the course of the next few weeks. Remember, you can submit a guest post to thevictorsvillage@gmail.com anytime!

Our first entry comes from Justin, who thinks District 12 seems awfully familiar. Enjoy!

_____________________________________________

Hello! I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the curious parallels between the place where I am from and District 12. As the books state, Katniss hails from the region today known as Appalachia in the Eastern United States. I, however, am from the Forest of Dean District. It makes up the western portion of the county of Gloucestershire in south-west England. (Everdeen/evergreen/Dean? Get it?) Up until the mid 20th Century the area’s main local industries were coal and iron ore mining.

Forest of Dean: Harry Potter wuz here too!

Forest of Dean: Harry Potter wuz here too!

One of the two main towns of the district is called Cinderford (pop: 8,116) which is right on the edge of the forest itself. You can walk straight out of it into the woods just as Katniss does when she goes hunting. And, of course, District 12 gets reduced to cinders. The other town is called Coleford, but ‘cole’ is derived from the Latin for ‘cabbage’, apparently. I guess The Capitol didn’t care enough about the Districts to recognize proper names for their individual settlements.

I have saved the best for last. For hundreds of years in the Forest of Dean there has been a tradition known as Freemining whereby private individuals can claim a parcel of land to mine for themselves. These personal plots are known as ‘gales‘. No, really.

This is an extract from the Dean Forest (Mines) Act 1838:

“All male persons born or hereafter to be born and abiding within the said Hundred of St Briavels, of the age of twenty one years and upwards, who shall have worked a year and a day in a coal or iron mine within the said Hundred of St Briavels, shall be deemed and taken to be Free Miners.”

(There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on whether it is ‘Freeminers’ or ‘Free Miners’.)

Gale approved!

Gale approved!

I think there are some more links between the HG character of Gale and the FoD Freeminers:

“Amongst other places, Free Miners were frequently requested to fight in France and fought throughout the Hundred Years War, most famously at the famous battles at Crecy (1346) and Agincourt (1415). Miners became used to being an essential part of the King’s armoury, Dean miners were sometimes called ‘The King’s Miners’ and ‘King’s Pyoneers’, known generally as ‘Sappers’ they undermined fortifications, created earthworks, trenches, building timber structures, installing stakes etc. As well as their renowned mining skills, the miners were also excellent archers and ferocious in hand to hand combat; they were hard men, used to operating in harsh conditions. By law from 1363 all English males from 7 – 60 years old were required to practise archery for at least two hours on Sundays and festival days…” Source.

In Mockingjay, Gale Hawthorne, the miner who wanted to be free, has a big hand in undermining the fortification known as the Nut. (Although, the Free Miners were, themselves, very much part of the establishment.)

So, if any of you out there gets an opportunity to talk with Suzanne Collins, do please ask her if there actually are any connections between The Hunger Games and the Forest of Dean.

Justin

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